Saturday, 27 June 2015

Taken for granted

The other day while I was in town with someone who works with us we were talking about what the UK was like. We have this conversation fairly regularly. Either I will point something out that absolutely, totally, would never, ever happen in the UK or he will ask if we have dirt roads, question why you can't buy live chickens...  or something like that. It got me thinking. There are so many things here that are different, yet after living here a while its just normal. 

This time our UK vs Zambia conversation started driving through a compound. (Township) This was the edge of the road. Look at the white line, you can see how close the cars pass by the market tables. Imagine the health and safety and risk assessment paperwork on that!! 

If you need credit for your phone, fruit, a newspaper, cockroach killer, dog leads, games, posters, CDs or a wide selection of clothes all you need to do is wind down your window as you pass by. You don't even have to get out of the car to fill your car up with fuel. Just wind the window down, wait for the man (or woman) to fill the car and hand over the cash.

There is advertising everywhere. Big and small billboards, tv screens, adverts painted on walls, signs... you are bombarded! 

Shops can be made of pretty much anything. Old pallets, plastic bags and asbestos sheets taken off the last building to be pulled down. (The wooden poles stacked on the first level of the building are scaffolding poles.)

Scaffolding is not always made of metal, doesn't have safety nets and doesn't look that sturdy. 

You can also buy ANYTHING you need or want on the side of the road. 
Live chickens so they can be eaten fresh.
Ornamental concrete ducks. (Or flowers/vases if you prefer)
Some tyres for your car... brand new second hand!
 An armchair..... 
or 3 piece suite, if orange is your colour!
Drawers or baskets
A school bag, hand bag, man bag or clutch.
Bricks to build your house, or school. Actually, any building material you can imagine can probably be bought from the road. Roof sheets, building sand, cement, concrete pillars, stones...

it really is very different to 'back home' but you get used to it and now, having to get out of the car at a petrol station seems very inconvenient! 

and just as a side note... check out the clear blue sky! You get use to that as well!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Back in the classroom

Last week, for the first time in almost 6 years, I have had a classroom of my own, with a single year group of children, and have not been worried about training someone who is watching me! (except the children) It has been so much fun! The teacher who started in January decided he wanted to go back to the village and as he was on trial didn't have to give a notice period. We have 'gone on a bear hunt', made our own story books, designed a false roof for the classroom, learnt about recycling, set up class jobs, practiced lots and lots of English speaking and I have learnt more Nyanja.

In the next few weeks I will be looking for a teacher in Grade 2. There are a few different options with pros and cons to each one.

  • I could find a trained teacher.  You can end up having to un-train them to retrain. However they should have some basic teaching knowledge, depending on their experience. 
  • I could find an untrained person and train them myself. This means investing a lot of hours back in one classroom which would take away some of the time I spend doing other teachers training. However I can train them how I want them to teach. 
  • I could share the teaching with Sam who could do 2 days and I will do the other 3. That means I don't have time in the school day for the other admin/training that desperately needs to happen, so it's not really an option. 
Currently I am sitting on two applications for people in the middle category. Next week we will call them for interview and be quite strict about the level of English and their own knowledge before considering that option. 

The container arriving
Other than teaching we have been busy with emptying a container. We were gifted a 40ft container a few weeks ago that was stuffed full of all kinds of things. From bikes to bookcases, clothes and computers. It really was a treasure trove of goodies. The understanding is that we will share out the contents with vulnerable children and families throughout Lusaka so we have started doing that. Some things will be kept for when we have new classrooms, the boys all got new mattresses and are looking forward to sharing out some clothes. The garage, the assembly area at school and pretty much every available space has stuff stored in it. 

Both at school and around home there had been a lot of sickness. I am back to serving cough mixture as though it is a nice drink at school. At home a couple of the boys have had a string of illnesses, coughs, colds, upset stomachs and things that seem to be lingering. 

Please pray for:
- A new teacher who is trainable.
- The Grade 2 children with the changes in the classroom.
- Me juggling teaching and managing for the time being.
- Health of everyone.

Friday revision maths game

Beginning to unload the container

Oscars glasses!

Friday treat, learning how to make puzzles.


Big Art


Contents from the container going to its new home.

Unloading the container